With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Here I am, among the debris of my own birthday party, dressed up in this chicken outfit and tied to a kitchen chair in the middle of the floor.
Oh, very funny. When I woke up, I laughed so hard I feared my trousers would never dry.
That's what they expected, anyway. I am sick of it. The butt of every joke.
"Sam can take it. He's such a good sport." Yes, I am. But they will soon be laughing on the other sides of their stupid, sickening, smiley faces.
I had an inkling that something like this would happen, if I invited them to my party. That's why I had the party in the first place. I invited all the usual suspects:
Gerry, my ex school friend, who regularly sabotaged my lunchbox. I had to put up with everything from dead flies with the legs removed, in my bag of raisins, to chilli powder in my orange drink.
Martin. I worked with him for three years. Three years of being on the receiving end of his practical jokes: The phone call from the angry client when he was on his lunch break, reducing me to a gibbering wreck; The superglue in the lock of my desk drawer; the top-shelf men's magazine that fell out of my carefully prepared report right onto my boss's desk. Yes, Miss Sharpe was not nearly as amused as Martin was about that one.
And finally, Tom. He was my best friend since we were at pre-school together. He thought it was such a good idea to photocopy that picture of me as a toddler, sitting on a towel after my bath, with everything on display, and post it on all the school noticeboards when I was fourteen. Hilarious. I laughed with all the others, but went home that night and cried until two o'clock in the morning. When my mother called me for school, she was convinced enough by my red eyes and runny nose that I had a streaming cold, and let me stay at home for the next two days.
Ah - I can hear Arnold's key in the front door now. He's my new friend. I asked him to come round when he'd finished, just in case I needed rescuing. What a shame Gerry, Martin and Tom will never meet him. He's very good, I'm told, at his job. He can place devices anywhere, and leave no trace. While the lads were here, Arnold paid a visit to their houses. I like my new friend.